Overall crime in West Windsor rose about 5 percent in 2006, while in Plainsboro, it decreased by 4.3 percent, according to the uniform crime reports recently released by the New Jersey state police.
In West Windsor, the total number of crimes reported in 2006 was 563, up from 535 in 2005, and the total number of crimes reported in Plainsboro went from 235 to 225.
Of those incidents, West Windsor saw a 4.6 increase in nonviolent crime — which includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — which went from 522 reports in 2005 to 546 in 2006. Plainsboro saw a 6.2 percent decrease in nonviolent crime, with 226 incidents reported in 2005 and 212 reported in 2006. Both saw reports of violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — generally around the same level as they were in 2005, with four more reported in each municipality in 2006.
Plainsboro Police Chief Elizabeth Bondurant said she thinks crime is down in general because safety and security is more on the forefront of the minds of business owners and the public at large.
“The residents and businesses in Plainsboro are better prepared today and more safety-conscious,” she said, adding the police there have a great relationship with them. “We provide a lot of safety and educational programs to them.”
She said police have also increased their contact with the businesses and host quarterly meetings with them to help prepare for emergencies.
While there were four more incidents of violent crimes reported, she said it could be because people are more comfortable reporting crimes with police. “We also live in a community that has many apartments and multiresident buildings, and if an incident is occurring, your neighbor might be reporting it,” she said.
In West Windsor Lieutenant Carl Walsh noted an increase in population in his township, due to the large Estates at Princeton Junction development, which may be a factor in the slightly higher number of incidents reported there. “Our officers are diligently patrolling, and we’re in the process of adding more uniformed personnel to patrol duties,” Walsh said.
He did point to some other statistics not mentioned in the state report that fare well for the township. There has been a 15 percent decrease in simple assaults, 43 percent decrease in forcible burglaries, a 15 percent decrease in unlawful burglaries and a 29 percent decrease in attempted burglaries over the same time period, he said.
But as with the state police’s uniform crime reports, it’s hard to assign any particular reason for the increases or decreases in particular types of crimes when there aren’t that many crimes reported. Any slight change seems drastic. For example, the number of attempted burglaries went from 7 in 2005 to 5 in 2006, and that translates into a 29 percent decrease, Walsh said.
He also said that from 2005 to 2006, there has been a 12 percent increase in adult arrests, and a 22 percent decrease in juvenile arrests.
“The decrease in juvenile crime is something that’s a positive result of patrol duties and also our juvenile officer being involved with the schools in the promotion of our D.A.R.E. program,” he said.